The Leader Presented the report to Council. The report, which was being received by all local authorities in Gwent, updated members on the formation of a regional ‘Gwent’ Public Services Board and on the next round of the Assessment of Local Well-being and Local Well-being Plans.
Members would be aware of the ‘OneNewport’ Public Services Board or ‘PSB’ and the important role of this partnership. To date each local authority area in Gwent had its own PSB.
The Well-Being of Future Generations Act 2015 enabled two or more Public Services Boards (PSBs) to be able to merge if it would assist them in contributing to the achievement of well-being goals.
Partners across Gwent recognised the benefits of working together as a region and building on the existing informal ‘G10’ partnership, proposed that we worked together as one, Gwent PSB. This meant one Well-Being Assessment for the region, and one Well-Being Plan. The footprint of the regional body would be better aligned to a range of existing partnerships in an increasingly complex landscape.
The report outlined the arrangements for the formation of a Gwent PSB from September this year and whilst this was a decision for the individual PSBs, there were also changes for Newport City Council as a key partner. Council was therefore asked to note the changes, and to approve the necessary governance and constitutional changes, to implement these proposed arrangements.
The appended report was being presented in each of the five local authority areas in the Gwent region. Our ‘OneNewport’ PSB was consulted on and agreed the proposed change with effect from September. We would continue to work closely with our OneNewport partners to ensure that our strong local partnership continued, and this included the ongoing delivery of the current Well-Being Plan (2018-2023).
The Council would also be reviewing the arrangements for local Partnership Scrutiny and would continue to work with Scrutiny members on this important aspect. This included Regional Scrutiny for the new PSB but locally there remained the task of scrutiny of Newport’s partnership work.
PSBs across the region also considered the importance of maintaining the existing strong local partnerships in each area to support delivery of the Well-being Plan and other partnership work.
The existing individual Well-being Plans across Gwent would continue to be delivered through local partnerships and be overseen by the current local scrutiny arrangements until spring 2023.
As outlined in the report the proposals that Council was required to note and approve were:
1. The merger of the Public Services Boards and the establishment of a regional Gwent PSB;
2. The proposed governance arrangements and terms of reference for the regional PSB;
3. The development of a single regional Well-Being Plan;
4. The establishment of a regional Joint Scrutiny Committee to review and scrutinise the work of the Gwent PSB;
5. Authorisation for the Proper Officer to make the necessary amendments to the Council’s Constitution to reflect these changes in governance arrangements and terms of reference.
Discussions with Partnership Scrutiny were ongoing and would continue, to ensure the development of effective local Scrutiny for Newport partnership arrangements. This included a range of work including community safety and the ongoing monitoring of the current Well-being Plan.
Councillor Jeavons seconded the report.
Comments from Councillors:
Councillor M Evans asked how would the formation of a Regional PSB benefit Newport, as our needs would be different to Blaenau Gwent and Monmouthshire and how would it improve the lives of our residents. As the scrutiny arrangements had not been agreed it was considered that further details regarding these arrangements were needed for greater clarity. There would be merits but councillor Evans felt that he could not support something that would put Newport in the back seat.
Whilst this was not procedurally a question and answer session, the Leader was pleased to respond that the report offered significant opportunities. The G10 Group already worked together effectively, as demonstrated by the response to the Covid pandemic, through the local resilience forum. The successful Test Trace and Protect programme which was put in place across the region, demonstrated our commitment and partnership working. This was a good example of how regional partnership worked well supporting citizens in the Gwent area, by comparison to arrangements for Track and Trace in England. This was approved recently in Torfaen and would be approved at Caerphilly’s Council meeting next week. Monmouthshire had already proved this and Blaenau Gwent Council are yet to approve this. In terms of our partnership, there was a firm base to take this forward, as well as statutory requirements around partnership working, that would continue to be maintained. Furthermore, we would continue to maintain our work as a One Newport partnership through the Newport offer.
That Council approved the establishment of a Gwent PSB, a single Well-Being Plan and a regional Joint Scrutiny Committee and agreed the necessary governance and constitutional changes to implement these proposed arrangements, in order to deliver the benefits of collaborative working and improved well-being outcomes at a regional level, as set out above and in the annexed common report.